Vitamin C Benefits what can vitamin C do for you?
Vitamin C Benefits: Vitamin C is one of the safest and best nutrients, experts say. It may not be the cure for the common cold (though it’s thought to help prevent more serious complications). However, the benefits of vitamin C might include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.
A recent study published in Seminars in Preventive and Alternative Medicine that looked at over 100 research over 10 years demonstrated a growing list of benefits of vitamin C.
“Vitamin C has received a great deal of attention, and with good reason. Higher blood levels of vitamin C may be the perfect nutrition marker for total health,” says study researcher Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, at the University of Michigan. “The more we study vitamin C, the better our understanding of how diverse it’s in protecting our health, from cardiovascular, cancer, stroke, eye health [and] immunity to living longer.”
“However,” Moyad notes, “the ideal dosage may be higher than the recommended dietary allowance.”
How Much Vitamin C Is Sufficient?
Most of the research Moyad and his colleagues analyzed used 500 daily milligrams of vitamin C to achieve health results. That’s greater than the RDA of 75-90 mg per day for adults. So unless you can eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, you might have to take a dietary supplement of vitamin C to gain all of the benefits, Moyad states. He suggests taking 500 milligrams a day, besides eating five servings of fruits and vegetables.
“It is simply not practical for most people to eat the required portions of fruits and vegetables needed on a constant basis, whereas taking a once-daily supplement is safe, effective, and easy to do,” Moyad says. He also notes that only 10% to 20% of adults get the recommended nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
Moyad says there isn’t any real downside to taking a 500-milligram supplement, except that some types may irritate the stomach. That is why he recommends taking a non-acidic, buffered form of the vitamin. “The safe upper limit for vitamin C is 2,000 mg daily, and there is an excellent track record with strong evidence that taking 500 mg daily is safe,” he says.
American Dietetic Association
However, American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Dee Sandquist, RD, suggests doing your best to work more fruits and vegetables into your diet before taking supplements.
“Strive to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day, because you’ll get a healthy dose of vitamin C together with an abundance of different vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that are good for disease prevention and general health,” she says.
While a cup of orange juice or a half-cup of red pepper would be enough to meet your RDA for Vitamin C, here are all the foods and beverages you’d need to eat to reach 500 milligrams (mg):
Cantaloupe, 1 cup (8 ounces): 59mg
Orange juice, 1 cup: 97mg
Red cabbage, 1/2 cup: 40mg
Kiwi, 1 medium: 70mg
Tomato juice, 1 cup: 45mg.
According to recent research, vitamin C may offer health benefits in these areas:
1. Stress . “A recent meta-analysis showed vitamin C was beneficial to individuals whose immune system has been weakened due to stress — a condition that’s extremely common in our society,” says Moyad. And, he adds, “because vitamin C is one of those nutrients sensitive to stress, and [is] the first nutrient to be depleted in alcoholics, alcoholics, and obese people, it makes it an ideal mark for overall wellbeing.”
2. Colds. In regards to the common cold, vitamin C may not be a cure. But some studies show that it might help prevent more serious complications. “There is good evidence taking vitamin C for colds and influenza can reduce the risk of creating further complications, such as pneumonia and lung ailments,” says Moyad.
3. Stroke. Although research has been conflicting, one study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those with the highest levels of vitamin C in their blood were correlated with 42% lower stroke risk compared to those with the lowest concentrations. The reasons for this aren’t completely clear. But what’s clear is that people who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables have higher blood levels of vitamin C.
“People who eat more fruit and vegetables won’t only have greater [blood] levels of vitamin C, but higher intake of other nutrients potentially beneficial to health, such as fiber and other vitamins and minerals,” study researcher Phyo K. Myint said in an email interview.
4. Skin Aging. Vitamin C affects cells on the inside and out of the body. It found that higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance, dryness of skin, and a better skin-aging appearance.
Other studies have suggested that vitamin C may also:
Reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is essential for the growth, development, and repair of body tissues. It is involved in many body functions, including the formation of digestion, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, as well as the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.
Vitamin C is one of several antioxidants that can protect against damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals, as well as toxic chemicals and pollutants such as cigarette smoke. Free radicals can build up and contribute to the growth of health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.
Vitamin C isn’t stored in the body (excess amounts are excreted), so overdose is not a concern. But it’s nevertheless important not to exceed the safe upper limit of 2,000 milligrams a day to prevent stomach upset and diarrhea.
Water-soluble vitamins must be continuously supplied in the diet to maintain healthy levels. Eat vitamin-C-rich fruits and vegetables raw, or cook them with minimal water so that you don’t lose some of the water-soluble vitamin in the cooking water.
Vitamin C is easily consumed both in food and in pill form, and it may enhance the absorption of iron when both are eaten together.
Deficiency of vitamin C is comparatively rare, and primarily seen in malnourished adults. In extreme cases, it may result in scurvy — characterized by weakness, anemia, bruising, bleeding, and loose teeth.
The Way to Acquire More Vitamin C into Your Diet
This antioxidant super-nutrient is found in an assortment of fruits and vegetables. However, based on dietary intake data and the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines, most adults don’t get enough vitamin C in their diets. This is especially true of smokers and non-Hispanic black males, according to research done by Jeff Hampl, PhD, RD, and colleagues at the University of Arizona.
The foods richest in vitamin C are citrus fruits, green peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, white potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
Add pureed or grated veggies and fruits to recipes for muffins, meatloaf, and soups.
Keep cut-up veggies and fruits on hand so they are ready for a quick snack.
Frozen fruit slices make a cool summer treat.
Include dark lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded broccoli slaw on all your sandwiches and wraps.
Add fresh or frozen berries to muffins, pancakes, cereal, and salads.
Throw a handful of dried fruit on top of your cereal or in a baggie with nuts for a simple snack.
Enjoy a glass of vegetable juice for a filling and low-carb snack.
“It’s all about the big picture. And eating a diverse diet rich in all the nutrients is the best way for good health.”
Her advice: Take a daily multivitamin, because most individuals do not get enough of many nutrients. And if you want to combat colds and flu, wash your hands more often.